Top MP rejects cyber-attack as reason behind plane crash

January 20, 2020 - 13:22

TEHRAN — Chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee has rejected speculation that the shooting down of a Ukrainian plane was due to a cyber-attack.

“According to examination of this committee, the reason behind the downing of the Ukrainian plane was human error, and speculations such as electronic warfare is not proven yet,” Mojtaba Zonnour said on Sunday, Mehr reported.

He made the remarks after the parliamentary committee held a special meeting attended by representatives of the armed forces and the IRGC aerospace unit as well as deputy chief of the Army, chief of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization and director of the Imam Khomeini International Airport.

“One of the issues raised in this meeting was ambiguities with regard to the possibility of an electronic warfare and a cyber-attack in this incident,” he said.

“So far, this possibility is ruled out, unless information regarding this issue emerges in the future and proves the existence of cyber-attacks,” he added.

The Ukrainian passenger plane, with 176 people aboard, was mistakenly downed on January 8 near Tehran by an air defense system.

The victims of the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three British nationals.

The plane was shot nearly four hours after the Iranian military fired dozens of missiles at the U.S. airbase in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad five days earlier.

The Iranian military announced on the morning of January 11 that the plane had been mistaken for a cruise missile.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed “U.S. adventurism” for causing the Iranian military to shoot down the Ukrainian passenger plane. 

“Human error at time of crisis caused by U.S. adventurism led to disaster,” Zarif tweeted on January 8. “Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations,” Zarif added.

In his Sunday remarks, Zonnour said the authorities who attended the committee’s meeting responded to every question with expertise and full accuracy.

The top MP explained that due to the possibility of a U.S. retaliation, the Iranian armed forces were fully ready but were not ordered to fire at will, “so this incident was fully due to human error of the air defense system and the operator had made such error and made such decision based on his own assessment.”


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